Blue Carbon – is the carbon stored in marine and coastal ecosystems, from phytoplankton to fish and whales. It is one of the most effective natural tools that Cabo Verde has to mitigate climate change on the global level. For these ecosystems to do their job we need to keep them healthy and resilient.
The COP26 has started in Glasgow. And of the targets is: to adapt to protect communities and natural habitats. Cabo Verde with over 790,000 km2 of EEZ has a duty and a great opportunity to contribute to the climate change mitigation.
For example: Marine predators help plants to grow by keeping herbivore populations in check. This helps maintain the carbon storage function of coastal vegetation. The swimming movement of marine animals can stir up nutrients towards surface waters. These nutrients can be used by phytoplankton as they grow, absorbing carbon. Bony fish excrete carbon in the form of calcium carbonate. This raises the pH of seawater and potentially provides a buffer against ocean acidification, which is one effect of climate change. All whales dive underwater to feed and return to the surface to breathe. At the surface, they release buoyant fecal plumes that are rich in nutrients that phytoplankton need to grow. Mesopelagic fish migrate towards the surface at night to feed then return to deep waters during the day. This helps transport carbon to deep waters where it can be released as fecal pellets.